If elected president of the United States in 2008, Hillary Clinton will make the least attractive and least affable chief executive of the modern media age. From the piercing laugh (oftentimes when nothing is funny) to the menacing scowl when the TV cameras catch her in unguarded moments, Mrs. Clinton tends to come across unnervingly manufactured, even soulless at times.

A sensitive person winces at the potential for insult and imitation, if professional comedians ever draw their bead on the Senator from New York. Essentially humorless, Mrs. Clinton projects a deep cynicism that seems unbecoming as the leader of the free world. Up to this point, her most memorable public utterance remains, "the vast right-wing conspiracy," when she famously identified a mysterious cabal engaged in a plot to bring down her and her husband.

Having said all that, if she is elected (and at this moment, she is the most likely person to be the forty-fourth president of the United States), America will endure; perhaps, we will even prosper.

Why she's probably going to win: 2008 looks like a Democratic year; the election will transpire in the sixth year of the war in Iraq. Even if things get dramatically better in the Middle East, Americans will remain sour on our actions for at least a decade. While the economy is arguably quite robust presently, the public seems less than satisfied. We are not likely to see any dramatic upswings in consumer confidence during the next two years. The two candidates who most likely would run strongest against the Democratic candidate, John McCain and Rudy Giuliani, are unlikely to win the Republican nomination.

So, given the likely list of GOP nominees, the war and the Bush economy (that cannot seem to "get no respect") and factoring in the traditional restlessness of the American electorate at the presidential level, it follows that almost any Democratic nominee can win the general election (even John Kerry). If Hillary wants the nomination, she is likely to get it. If she gets the nomination, she is likely to win election.

Might she decline? Most American statesman, given the opportunity to be president, jump at the chance. For reasons of pride and personal satisfaction as well as public interest (granted, these two reasons are closely related; that is, most politicians believe that it is in the public interest for them to be in charge), the presidency is the irresistible and irreplaceable capstone to a political career in our nation.

Bottom-line: The Democratic nomination is Clinton's to lose or decline. My bet is that she accepts it.

See Part II for why we will endure; Part III will offer a scenario in which we might even prosper.